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The title sequence I chose to analyze is an old and simple one for the movie Gattaca. The reason I like it so much is in large part to the movie itself. I really connect with the idea that you aren’t defined by what other people define you as, especially if you have enough motivation and heart. My high school counsellor told me I would never go to college and would not get very far. It hurt, but it also motivated me to find my own path in my own way no matter what others or even society defines me as. This movie was an exact representation of that idea. The title sequence visualized and embodied that story in a detailed and prophetic way.

6 Key moments from the sequence.

1. Opening quote. Fr000

I’ve seen opening quotes done amazingly but also done poorly. The worst though is when they are vague and hollow, even if a good quote. What I like about this quote was that it was mysterious, but also provocative especially at the time when global warming and environmental awareness was ramping up. ‘I not only think we will tamper with Mother Nature. I think Mother wants us to.’ This goes against everything society has been preaching in a way. I was very intrigued.

2. Music & sound design.
At first, the only sound we hear is these booming thumps as these large objects hit the abstract surface we are looking at. Eventually, a very slow and peaceful score begins. When the violin kicks in towards the end of the sequence we reveal a close up of a man shaving. It goes from a deep and strong heavy mysterious feel to a more emotional and almost poetic feeling.

3. Imagery. Fr001, Fr002

Not knowing anything about the movie the very first time, the mystery of these epic and heavy feeling objects falling and hitting the ground made me think we were on another planet. Then it snows. Then a heavy set of logs fall, and little twig looking things. It is only later that it becomes more obvious that we are looking at something really close up. The surprise payoff is that the sequence ends with a man shaving his beard. We understand this has been him shaving and getting ready for work the whole time.

4. Typography placement. Fr003, Fr004

The placement of the titles is very deliberate on multiple levels. First off the compositions definitely seem to work within a centred 4 square grid. But what is very interesting and thoughtful to me is the difference of placements between the different titles. The studio, Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and the GATTACA title itself are all centre-placed on a centred grid. But secondary characters like Alan Arkin and Jude Law are placed on the left and right sides very symmetrically using a thirds grid. It is clear they are not main characters. The final few characters are placed off-centre both vertically and horizontally which to me called attention to Ethan and Uma as characters I really need to pay attention to in comparison.

5. The mixed Typefaces. Fr005

The titles themselves mixed what looks like Trajan, a very traditional film title font, and what I think is interstate. A bold modern Sans Serif font. Uniquely, the only letters in Interstate are G, T, C, A which feel like both an abbreviation of the name of the movie. But they also read like some sort of code. Later in the film, it is revealed how DNA plays a defining role in who excels in society and who does not which adds the distinct meaning to these letters. They represent the four DNA bases (Guanine, Thymine, Cytosine, Adenine).

6. Negative Space & Color. Fr006

While not an exact replica of what is to come in the film, there is something to the blue emptiness of the backgrounds that feels both futuristic but also empty and mysterious. It feels kind of relaxing to watch but also a bit mysterious. Our minds want to assign meaning to everything and I kept wanting to understand or assign meaning to what I was looking at but could not. I simply came away with a mood. The colour and emptiness we soon find out are similar to the same sterile and empty feeling at Ethan Hawkes job.

It was interesting how close this particular shot of the hair follicles got to the more complex of the three grids, especially given it seems like they shot this.

7. What it all means.

Upon the first watch of this sequence into Ethan shaving, it communicates he is getting ready for work. But why? Why does that even matter? Later in the film, we reveal first that he goes to work to work towards becoming an astronaut and is frequently DNA tested to ensure that he is physically gifted to do so. But the twist is he is not physically gifted and is faking his identity. To not leave a trace of his DNA, he cuts his nails, shaves his body and face with near OCD precision, and cuts his hair so perfectly to not leave a trace of himself. Later in the film, we understand the importance of this ritual as a means of him fighting for his dreams but also fighting this parsing of humans without giving them a chance he is looking to overcome.

I really like to practice more but can not find any time for it because of my work. :(

Aspect ratio of the opening is 16:9, which is I suppose for the purpose of Westworld being a TV show displayed mainly on television and on screens (via online streaming services), so no reason to go to more "cinema-like" image. We want to use the full screen for the vast majority of viewers.

The overall color scheme feels mainly as monochromatic, mainly using colors like white, grey and black, but with a small amount of dark blue tint and a bit of brown to some of the scenes (eg. real image of mountains). The chosen color scheme emphasis the technical and unnatural, yet clean and sterile process of creating an artificial beings

The whole image is covered by a tiny amount of grain, somewhere maybe even a small chromatic aberration, which adds just a bit of natural feeling to the camera.

The font chosen for the titles is very clear and simple with big spacing between the letters. Somewhere it feels like Helvetica Neue, but it's something more modern - eg. "Q" letter is very simple and stylized.

Chosen moments:

1. An introduction to the world. Looks like a sun rising over a mountain or desert at first, but something feels more synthetic over the time. The overall framing respects rule of thirds, name of the actress is displayed on the top.

2. The lighting of the image is driven by the moving light panel underneath the horse, which reveals the silhouette into the more complete looking artificial animal. Interestingly, the two "3D-printing" arms are still operating and finishing the horse, but previous shot suggested that left arm was moving away from it. Maybe a way to express that the whole animal needs a complex fine-tuning and adjusting before it's finished.

3. The whole image is very simple, minimalistic and aesthetic, I like the usage of two name titles revealed on the path of the needle. The needle itself moves from a left to right within an arc, which is very beautiful movement and a great way to maintain nice-looking composition in overall. It's one of the biggest details of artificial tissue creation.

4. In this shot, it's beautiful and unexpected as the image plays along the music literally. It also suggest that the artificial beings will be able to play on a piano, so therefore interpret art pieces (made by human). The title is displayed nicely in the top center.

5. For the first time, we can see that (not mentioning piano) those robot arms/machines are not limited to creating the artificial creatures, but also another, well, "machines". Which is clearly a gun barrel - a new element that adds an expectation of danger and artificially created conflict. I love the clear framing and another example of printing needle moving on a arc.

6. We can now see now more clearly lit image with the dangerously looking woman on the horse. Both woman and horse are for the purpose of stylization still unfinished, the scene looks like a test trial. The woman is wearing black uniform, which makes her more distinct from the horse, but she also feels like some dark and dangerous character - which is supported by the gun. There is also no title on this shot, which is due to complex image and to support the whole importance of the shot.

Awesome teachers with great teaching skills. It's not just a class, it's a family.

- Val Germain
Still trying to see more of the forms and shape, not there yet but I do learn a lot.

Favourite render from this lesson.

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What is Learn Squared?
Learn Squared is a new form of art education founded, curated and powered by industry-leading artists. 
We aim to demonstrate the idea that everybody starts somewhere.
When do classes start?

All courses are now in session, with new Guidance (tutorial) content releasing every Wednesday for 8 weeks. All previously completed courses are available on-demand with all lesson content available, so you can sign up at any time and learn at your own pace.

What do you mean by ‘a new form of art education?’
Each of our courses has not one, but two high-level professionals. You get to follow along as one industry-leading artist teaches another from a completely different field. You receive the same tutorials, the same information, and the same guidance.
Why would I want to watch somebody follow tutorials?
We’re not just showing you what we’ve learned - we’re showing you how we learn.
By taking an otherwise advanced artist and placing them in an unfamiliar field, they are now starting at square one.
What do the courses consist of?
Depending on your access level: Highly focused personal mentorship, in-depth video training, The Journey from each course’s Apprentice, access to view the week’s mentorship session, project files, and raw screen captures to download.
How long are the courses?
The duration of our courses vary greatly depending on the instructor and the content being covered, but students can generally expect between one and three hours of training per lesson.
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Our Professional plan offers a highly personalized weekly mentorship with limited seats available. Due to the focused nature of this mentorship, sign-ups are only open for a limited time depending on our instructors' availability.
How do the mentorships work?
Learn Squared offers a highly focused personal mentorship with limited seats within each course. 
Students will meet with their instructors in a weekly live chat after completing the week’s lesson. The instructor will then review each student’s work and offer personalized critique via constructive advice, paintovers, and more.
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